1984 By George Orwell Summary and Analysis Part 1: Chapters 6-7

Summary

In Chapter 6, Winston Smith confesses in his diary about a visit to an aging prostitute. This episode with the repulsive, objectionable prole prostitute exacerbates his desire for a pleasant sexual experience. Winston also thinks about his wife, Katharine, who has been out of his life for nearly eleven years. They separated because Winston could not stand Katharine's orthodoxy to the Party or her coldness toward him.

In Chapter 7, Winston writes of his hope that the proles, the working class, will rebel and change society. Due to their majority, Winston is sure that, if the proles would only become conscious of the fact that they could improve their situation, they could overturn the Party.

Winston also recalls a time in which he was sitting in a café next to three men who were later arrested and executed as enemies of the party. At one time, a photograph of these men had come across Winston's desk, proving that they were once in league with the Party and that, at the time of their supposed treason, they were at a Party function — proof that the men were forced to confess to false crimes. Winston threw the photograph into the memory hole for fear that this bit of real history and his effort to remember history as it actually happened would betray him as a thought-criminal.

Winston muses a bit on the Party's control over thought and realizes that he is writing the diary for O'Brien, the only person he believes to be on is side. He finishes this diary entry with the line "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows."

Analysis

The Party controls even the most intimate of feelings and acts between human beings. Love and sex are conditioned out of people at an early age, and only loyalty to the party is intended to remain. Because Winston still has some memory of a time before the Party, he is "corrupt" in that he still has an active sex drive; he longs for the type of relationship no longer possible in his society. Winston's repressed sexuality, which causes him to respond and react in various ways and appears to be a significant force in his rebellion against the Party, is emerging as a motif in the novel.

Winston naively believes that the organization of the proles is the only way that society will be emancipated from the Party. Yet the proles have no leader and are more concerned with getting a cooking pot than improving their lives. The Party line runs "Proles and animals are free." Winston envies the proles' relative freedom and wishes they would suddenly become conscious of the Party's deceptions. Totalitarian regimes such as the one in Stalin's Soviet Union had similar demographics — the working class out-numbered the leaders by a huge margin — yet they failed to recognize or harness their potential and were, therefore, powerless to change anything.

Note that the themes of memory, history, and fact are again recalled — the photograph of the former Party members is the only piece of evidence that Winston has ever had that proves that the Party is deceptive, that Winston's memory is correct. Nevertheless, he destroys the photograph either from fear or from precedent. Of course, even had he kept the photograph, he could not have used it for any purpose other than to prove to himself that he was right.

The idea of right versus wrong, in terms of the events of history and common knowledge, is important in Chapter 7, as it is throughout the entire novel. Winston is sure that freedom is the freedom to think that what is right is right — that "two plus two makes four."

Glossary

subjection a being under the authority or control of another.

heresy any opinion (in philosophy, politics, etc.) opposed to official or established views or doctrines.

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What are the Party slogans -- War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, Ignorance Is Strength -- examples of?




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